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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am able to purchase capped queen cells for $2 or queens for $20-$30.

I am tired of paying $30 each to ship in queens.

I will be splitting double deep hives down into 5 frame nucs, 2 frames of brood next year.

My question is how many queen cells would you add to each nuc to ensure the majority of them will hatch and accept a decent queen. Would you put 2 in each to ensure that at least one of them will hatch ok?

I am going to try for 50-75 nucs next year so the savings would be.... reasonable.
 

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I am able to purchase capped queen cells for $2 or queens for $20-$30.

I am tired of paying $30 each to ship in queens.


I am going to try for 50-75 nucs next year so the savings would be.... reasonable.
notching frames into your nucs......FREE
 

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I would only put one, as the virgin that hatches first is very likely to kill the rest. But as previously stated, you can grow your own cells. The advantage of mated queens is no risking of losing them on their mating flight. Not true with cells. Pull the queen out of your deep and let it make cells for you. Then I move the entire frames rather than try to move the cells. Of course the new queen will kill the other cells on the frame that she hatched from, but it's fast, easy and works well except the risk of the mating flight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I wouldn't quite call losing 14 days of egg laying free, That amounts to a decent crop loss on the Canadian prairies. the difference between 0lbs of honey and 50lbs - 75lbs per double nuc. I would count that as a $50 loss per nuc selling wholesale.

As a total having my bees make their own cells would amount to around $1,750 worth of lost profit on the 75 nucs to be made.
 

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I think you have a great idea, cells for a couple bucks is cheap. As for whether to place one or two in each nuc, with making only two frame nucs in five frame boxes, you could place two cells in each. The place you are getting them from may be candling the cells to insure good cells, so One per nuc would probably work just fine. Two would give insurance, and with two frames in a five frame box, I doubt swarming would be an issue.

I've always raised my own cells, and when I place them in nucs, I've always only placed just one, and they seem to do very well. In the end, one or two, is your choice.
 

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I wouldn't quite call losing 14 days of egg laying free, That amounts to a decent crop loss on the Canadian prairies. the difference between 0lbs of honey and 50lbs - 75lbs per double nuc. I would count that as a $50 loss per nuc selling wholesale.

As a total having my bees make their own cells would amount to around $1,750 worth of lost profit on the 75 nucs to be made.
Josh,
If you haven't already done so you might do some reading on the mdasplitter.com website. Mel's notching techniques can actually boost your honey production through the roof by making them queenless for a well timed cycle. I experimented with one hive this year, ended up with three very strong new nucs and the parent colony went bonkers hauling nectar as they weren't stuck tending brood for several weeks. I pulled the queen on May 2, 9 days later I pulled 15 cells (on three frames) on May 11. The parent colony is now far heavier with honey than other hives that were larger when I started. It really surprised me.

An added benefit is the full brood break puts a serious hurt on the mite population.
 

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"My question is how many queen cells would you add to each nuc to ensure the majority of them will hatch and accept a decent queen."
I think that the number of cells you need for each nuc depends on the care the cells received, particularly during their later stages of development, and the distance, temperature variations, and jostling in getting the cells from your seller into your nucs. But (as you have probably considered) much of the risk associated with cells occurs after the first queen emerges and destroys the extra cells. If I were using cells for the purpose you are describing, I would use one per nuc and have a back up plan (even if it was just combining nucs) for those hives from which the virgins did not successfully return from their mating flights and begin laying.
 

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I always think about the 'risk and reward' scenario.
If all nucs got a mated queen then the risk is little while the reward is high.
There will be a chance that the cell did not hatch or the virgin failed to come back from her
mating flight. So I would purchase 2 queen cells per nuc hive to increase the chance of a
successful mated queen. Less work to recombine these nucs later on.
Seems like the risk is lower than the reward. At $30 per mated queen this seems like a reasonable risk
to take.
 
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